The plot has become very thick this offseason for the Chargers. Coming off a successful 2018 campaign, star running back Melvin Gordon wants to get paid or get traded. The big question is: how much the offense will miss him and can Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson fill that void? Considering Gordon has dealt with some missed games in his career and that duo was admirable in his absence last year, the Chargers have all the leverage. So, what does this mean for fantasy owners entering their 2019 drafts? What impact, if any, will this situation have on the Chargers offense as a collective? Let’s investigate!
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2019 Los Angeles Chargers Fantasy Preview
KEY LOSSES: Tyrell Williams, Darius Philon DT, Jason Verrett CB
Impact: I’m thrilled that Tyrell Williams has moved on because that opens the door for Mike Williams to challenge for #1 WR status. Tyrell’s 65 targets will be spread around, but the majority are going to end up with Mike. The losses on defense were addressed through the draft.
KEY ADDITIONS: Tyrod Taylor QB, Thomas Davis OLB,
Impact: Taylor was a good experienced backup who’s never played on a roster with this much talent. Davis is in the twilight of his career, but he should still be a contributor.
DRAFTED PLAYERS OF FANTASY NOTE: Jerry Tillery DT, Nasir Adderley S,
Impact: Tillery will be the logical replacement for Brandon Mebane (who signed a 1-year extension and is now 35) and they needed some depth up front after this offseason. Adderley will allow them a ton of flexibility as far as scheme goes with the secondary. This wasn’t a flashy draft from a fantasy standpoint, but the defense will benefit from these two selections.
Philip Rivers has been one of the most consistent and yet consistently underappreciated fantasy quarterbacks throughout his career. He’s a very solid fantasy asset, especially in superflex formats. Melvin Gordon has gone from arguably the safest mid-first round RB to one of the scariest in just a few short weeks. Sigh. We all know what kind of all-purpose stud he is, but at this immediate moment, it’s all about your adversity to risk. Gordon is dropping to the third round right now, and even then there’s plenty of risk of him missing significant time. For me, the fourth round is more appealing and the fifth is a no-brainer if your league mates truly overreact. In the meantime, Austin Ekeler is going right around 100 overall, and that’s appropriate value. Justin Jackson sits around pick 150.
Ekeler is the better PPR option of the two, but it’s also one of those rare times where owning both might be the way to go. If you’re dipping your toes into the pool, you may as well jump in and control the situation. Keenan Allen will continue to be a strong PPR, low-end WR1, but Mike Williams is who I’m more excited about this year. Williams is a beast in the red zone and is poised for a breakout season. Hunter Henry is a talented route runner for a TE, but I’m concerned he’s being slightly overvalued because of the huge drop-off at the TE position.
The Chargers D was ranked ninth overall in YPG, PYA, and RYA. Derwin James was an IDP stud last year with 105 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 3 INT. He could run amuck this year now that rookie Nasir Adderley can support the corners deep. If Joey Bosa can play a full season, the tandem of Bosa and Melvin Ingram will give opposing QBs nightmares. The Chargers are a strong collective fantasy unit with plenty of individual studs as well.
CHARGERS 2019 OUTLOOK
The Melvin Gordon situation will affect fantasy owners more than the Chargers. If he does sign, he immediately becomes a mid-first rounder again. If not, Ekeler becomes a flex play and Jackson a matchup play. If Mike Williams builds on last year as I anticipate, he’ll be a second-round talent in 2020. The Chargers are balanced and deep heading into the season. Now, it’s all about staying healthy. A problem that’s plagued them in the past. It’s still hard to see them not in the playoff picture come December.
Joe Pisapia is the author of the #1 best-selling Fantasy Black Book Series and creator of the revolutionary player evaluation tool Relative Position Value (RPV). He’s the host of The Fantasy Black Book Podcast and the LineStar DFS Podcasts. Joe was previously host of the FSTA award-winning On Target Fantasy (2016 Radio Show of the Year), The Fantasy Black Book Show, RotoExperts in the Morning and NFL Game Day for the FNTSY Fantasy Sports Radio Network, as well as RotoWire MLB/NFL DFS Podcasts, and numerous shows for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. You can also see him frequently on CBS TV in New York on The Sports Desk. He’s written for The Sporting News, FanDuel Insider and FantasyAlarm.
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